We use our eyes every single day without giving it a thought. We wake up in the morning and our eyes are ready to go. While the rest of our body is slowly beginning to function after a good night’s rest, our eyes are already on high alert. They get us through work, though school, through sport matches and through Netflix marathons.
So why is it that we put our eye health on hold? Sight is crucial to day to day life. Everything from work to play requires our vision. Unfortunately so many people overwork their eyes and then don’t give them the medical attention they need.
Though it’s easy to chalk that up to laziness or forgetfulness, the truth of the matter is that vision benefits just aren’t available for most people. A recent study done by the National Association of Vision Care Plans shows that people with vision benefits have healthier vision than those without it.
Average Eye Care Cost
There are a lot of expensive factors that come into play when calculating eye care costs. Naturally costs will vary from state to state. Since no eye is the same, costs will also vary from person to person depending on your individual needs.
For the sake of this article, we’ll be covering the basic costs: eye exams, glasses and contacts. Basic enough right? Basics are normally affordable because they’re the bare minimum. But that isn’t the case when it comes to eye care.
Without insurance or vision benefits you’re looking at paying around $50 for an eye exam at a retailer (like Walmart or Costco) or optic chain store. An optometrist normally performs these eye exams.
If you get an eye exam done at a medical clinic or private office, you’re looking at a $250 bill. If you’re getting fitted for contact lenses, you can almost always expect to pay more than a normal check-up. These are likely performed by an ophthalmologist.
So you’ve already paid a hefty bill just for an eye exam but now you’re told you need corrective eyewear. Eye glasses can cost anywhere from $125 to well above $500 for a pair. The price you pay will generally depend on what kind of frames you pick out. $125 is the average price for regular plastic frames.
You need glasses but you also play tennis in your free time which means you now need contact lenses! After paying for a second eye exam in which the doctor will measure your eye for proper fitting, the contacts will cost roughly $220 to $260 per year.
Those are some high prices to pay for healthy eyes. It’s no wonder that many people don’t have healthy eyes. They can’t afford it! And these prices only cover the basics. We won’t even begin to delve into what it would cost for medications or ointments or eye drops that you may need to treat certain conditions.
Healthy Vision and Vision Benefits: Stat Report
The National Association of Vision Care Plans released a report with all the stats that prove that there is a correlation between having vision benefits and having healthy eyes.
According to their report, 86 percent of Americans with vision benefits fully intend to get an eye exam within the next year. Of that 86 percent, 64 percent will receive the eyewear they need.
On the other hand, 67 percent of people without vision benefits were planning on getting an eye exam within the year. Of that 67 percent, a staggering 34 percent will get the required eyewear.
Many people think that going for an eye exam is all it takes to have healthy eyes, but it is only the first step out of many. Corrective eyewear is something a lot of people try to manage without because it’s so expensive.
You’ll also see in the infographic the time elapsed between each eye exam. People with benefits generally have eye exams every 19 months (it is recommended to get and eye exam every 14 months).
But those without benefits generally go 30 months before seeking another eye exam. That is far too much time in between exams. Vision diseases and conditions can occur without symptoms or warning signs where the only way to detect them is with an eye exam.
Luckily, employers are catching on and more than ever are offering vision benefits. The National Association of Vision Care Plans has reported that eight out of 10 employers now offer vision benefits.
If your employer doesn’t offer vision benefits, the best way to get these plans is to get coworkers on board. The more people ask for vision health to be covered by their employer, the more likely you are to get it.
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Why Is It Important?
Having vision benefits is incredibly important for your long term health. An eye exam today will help your future eyes. As we get older our eyes become at risk of developing diseases such as age-related macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts. All of these diseases can lead to blindness if not treated properly.
The good news here is that all these diseases are incredibly treatable so long as they’re caught early. A comprehensive eye exam is the best form of prevention for any vision condition.
As mentioned, vision conditions such as glaucoma can form with no warning signs. If not detected early, glaucoma can begin to cause blindness in the periphery and eventually will move towards your central vision. A simple eye exam can prevent all of this.
When to Check Your Eyes
- Children (0-17): Your child’s first eye exam should be at six months old; then their second should be at age three. After that you should have your child’s eye checked every two years until the age of 17.
- Adults (18-60): Eye exams are recommended every two years, except for those who have existing vision conditions or are at risk of developing them. In that case, yearly exams are recommended.
- Seniors (61+): A yearly exam is recommended for those over the age of 61, however your doctor may ask you to get your eyes checked more frequently to monitor potential risks.
Vision health is extremely important in every stage of life. Vision benefits need to be available to all in order for eye care to be affordable and accessible to all.